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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 11, 2012 8:00am-9:00am EST

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thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations] ..
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>> the growing trend of american adults choosing to live alone and what that means for the country. tonight at 10 eastern. also this weekend on booktv, sunday at 3 the second cousin of former secretary of state condoleezza rice, connie rice, on her work to reduce gang violence in l.a. and starting a dialogue between gang leaders and police. and at 8:15, georgetown university's bonnie morris on her one-woman play and book of the same name, "revenge of the women's studies professor." booktv every weekend on c-span2. >> historian stanley weintraub recounts the christmas holiday of 1941 two weeks after the japanese bombing of pearl harbor. mr. weintraub examines america's entry into world war ii. it's a little under an hour. [applause] >> there are certain dates in
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history that all of us remember if we're old enough to remember those dates at all, and they differ among us. i remember pearl harbor itself. i was in eighth grade in school then, and it was a very important event for me, and it was an important event for my older friends who expected to go off someday in uniform. depending on your age, you might remember other events. for example, the assassination of john kennedy or the assassination of martin luther king or to bring events even closer to our time in history, 9/11/2001. there are all kinds of dates that stick in the mind and that we keep remembering because they have an impact on our lives. i'm not going to talk about pearl harbor itself except its
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aftermath. the book, "pearl harbor christmas" is about what happened after pearl harbor. how different was the world, and how different was the united states? after pearl harbor? what changes were made? was the holiday season in 1941, for example, any different than it had been in 1940 or 1939 or other years just before that in peacetime? this, to me, tell us about the impact of the war. did it make a difference in our lives immediately, or did it take a while to do that? i was a collector of bubble gum cards, largely baseball cards. but as quick as could be the bubble gum makers came out with war cards, and i brought some war cards to show you, to give you an idea what i mean. i collected these when i was a
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kid, and one of them, one of the heros of my book is winston churchill. he turns up in the war cards. another one, less of a hero in my book but nevertheless a major figure in the newspapers was general mcarthur. and he became so important in december 1941 because we needed a hero x. he wasn't much of one, but he was there in the philippines. he became number one, card number one among the war cards. so the war cards taught us a lot about what was going on, and they also taught us a lot about what wasn't going on. soon after pearl harbor the philippines were invaded, and they surrendered very quickly. but since we needed a hero at the time, a hero came around in the person of colin kelly. colin kelly who was pilot of a
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b-17 flying fortress that was shot down in philippine water just off the coast of lausanne. the story had it that he was shot down after he had bombed and sunk the japanese battleship hirona. it turned out that he hadn't bombed anything, hadn't sunk anything, but his plane was shot down. when he tried to parachute out, the parachute got caught in the wreckage as it was coming down, and he went down with the wreckage and was killed. he had a small son, and president roosevelt called the widow and the son to the white house, and he announced that colin kelly jr. would be given admission to west point as soon as he was eligible to attend. and, of course, the wife got a posthumous medal for colin kelly. it turns out when the war ended, the battleship was found in a harbor in japan.
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it had never been sunk. so this is what happens in wartime propaganda. you learn a lot we had to unlearn later on. and the newspapers were full of misinformation because it was important that we not be despondent about what was going on at the time. things were bad, indeed. finish and we had seven battleships, for example, sunk at pearl harbor. no one knew that. they knew about a couple of the ships that had been sunk, but the reports were made a lot lighter than they really were because it was necessary for the japanese, so the government thought, to have the japanese made to believe they hadn't done as much damage as they really had. it turns out we were too stupid to realize it that the japanese had cameras aboard their planes
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that returned to their aircraft carriers, and when my book opens, i open with the japanese leading newspaper in tokyo publishing a picture showing the wreckage of pearl harbor taken from one of the airplanes. they knew what they had done, and they knew they had committed a tremendous amount of damage. but the damage, as serious as it was, was not serious enough because they hadn't been able to down any aircraft carriers. and the aircraft carrier -- shot the battle -- not the battleship -- became the leading warship of world war ii. two of our aircraft carriers were at sea, the lexington and enterprise, going out toward midway and wake island ferrying planes to defend those islands. and they were at sea when the japanese attacked. the japanese thought they had an
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aircraft carrier in, at least they looked down and saw what looked like one. the battleship utah, an old battleship that was really an antique and not used anymore, was covered with timbers so that it could be used as a target ship. and we dropped bombs on it, dummy bombs as a target ship. the japanese saw what looked like an aircraft carrier, they bombed the hell out of it, and it's still at the bottom of pearl harbor. if you go to pearl harbor now, you can go out to the little buoy and dock which is the scene of the wreckage of the utah. it's not a big memorial like the one for the arizona, but nevertheless, it's there. so two battleships that were sunk are still at the bottom of pearl harbor and will remain there as memorials. over a thousand men were trapped and died aboard the arizona when
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it exploded. one other ship that capsized becomes important in my book. the battleship oklahoma capsized, and men were trapped below decks and were trapped in water tight compartments so that they survived for a while. it turns out that they were still alive, a few of them were still allye by christmas -- alive by christmas eve. member, december 7th until christmas eve. and we found that out afterwards when we righted the oklahoma and found markings that indicated their scratching time onto the walls. that some were alive until christmas eve. that was not a very pleasant christmas for them. they didn't survive beyond that. the oklahoma, when righted, was towed toward california to be salvaged, and it sunk again. in the pacific.
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it has never been recovered. so that's the end of another one of those ships. the war took a very bad turn immediately. we had to way to defend the philippines. there was no way we could send troops or ships out to them because the japanese controlled the seas. there was to way the british could defend their own colonies in the far east, mama lay ya -- malay ya and singapore. malaya was immediately operated by the japanese who went down in bicycles. they didn't need tanks. they went down on bicycles or on foot. and they overwhelmed the british who had far more equipment than they had, and the british surrendered eventually, and vendors more men than the japanese had landed on malaya.
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winston churchill got in touch with the white house and asked if he could come and talk strategy with president roosevelt. president roosevelt really didn't want him to come that soon. he wasn't ready to talk strategy. we were surprised by the war, and he knew besides that churchill would want a europe first strategy, defeet germany -- defeat germany first. when the public and the united states clearly wanted to defeat japan. after all, it's japan who had attacked us. and hitler reciprocated. he told the german people, we now have an ally that has never lost a war in 3,000 years. so he expected to win this one too, and he declared war on the united states. we did not declare war on germany until they declared war on us, and that was a few days after pearl harbor. so we were at war with both germany and japan. not having expected to be at war with either one on december 7th.
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if at all, we expected to be at war with germany because we had begun convoying ships to britain hoping to get supplies to britain, and some of our ships, including destroyers, were torpedoed and sunk by the germans. it wasn't enough of a provocation on the part of the germans to convince congress to declare war on germany. we had an isolationist congress, they did not want a second war. after all, the war that ended in november 1918 had not been a success from the standpoint of the peace. it only led to another war. they didn't want one, and in october of 1941 when the peacetime draft had to be extended, the congress didn't want to vote for it. and general marshall, the chief of staff of the army, had to go to the house of representatives
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and plead for the extension so that we could keep our army intact. he got the extension by exactly one vote. which gives you an idea how unprepared and how pacifist the country still was when we were attacked at pearl harbor. churchill decided he'd come anyway, invitation or not, and he let president roosevelt know that he was going to come, and he would stay at the british embassy, and they would have an opportunity to talk. churchill has said afterwards that he slept the sleep of the saved when he knew about purl -- pearl harbor because he knew that america was in the war and that we would win. roosevelt, realizing he was stuck with churchill whether he liked it or not paid him the
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courtesy of inviting him to the white house. churchill came not by plane. it would have been very difficult in the winter weather in december in the north atlantic to travel by plane, and he might have had to spend days on the ground waiting for decent weather just to get to halifax, nova scotia, so he decided to come come by battleship, the duke of new york, which was rocked terribly in the north atlantic but finally made it across. when he got to hampton roads, virginia, he telephoned the white house to say he's sorry they were so late, could they send a plane or a train to meet them so they wouldn't have to fly the rest of the way up to washington? roosevelt sent a plane to get him and got into a limousine or was carried into a limousine -- after all, roosevelt was paralyzed from the waist down by polio. he was carried into his limousine and taken to the
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anacostia flats naval air station where churchill met him. the limousine, by the way, was an unusual one. it was al capone's armored car that had been seized from al capone when he was put in jail for tax evasion. the only way they could get him into jail. roosevelt did not have an armored vehicle to travel in. it was only after pearl harbor that one of the big car companies made an armored car for him. so the two of them with a couple of aides went back to the whitee house in al capone's limousine, an interesting way to begin their peace talks. churchill was the man who came to dinner. he stayed and stayed and stayed. he loved being there. there was good food, there was plenty of whiskey, he liked to drink. he told roosevelt's butler when he arrived at the white house that when he got up in the morning, he wanted a tumbler of
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sherry right away, and then he wanted some 90-year-old brandy with his breakfast. well, the butler had no idea about 90-year-old brandy in the white house, he didn't even know if white house was 90 years old. but he said, yes, and brandy of some sort was brought to churchill for breakfast the next morning. churchill drank husband way through the white house. he was a -- his way through the white house. he was a very popular guest though. he was there with advisers to try to guide the american military or and industrial forces into war. we weren't nearly prepared. we didn't have enough planes, we didn't have enough tanks, we didn't have enough of anything. and we weren't even prepared to gear up our industry for more. churchill brought with him lord beaverbrook, a former canadian
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who was a feisty guy who was good on talking straight to the americans and told them do you know that the russians lost 3,000 tanks in one battle against the germans and the germans lost nearly as many? how long will it take you to build 3,000 tanks? well, this boggle led the minds of the americans, but they stopped production of cars, they stopped production of any kind of leisure equipment like refrigerators and air conditioners and began building tanks and planes. and the british were losing so many ships to german submarines that churchill pointed out that we had to build more than one ship a day to replace what the germans were sinking, and that didn't even count the people onboard the ships. but the end of 1942, we were building thousands of ships,
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almost a ship an hour thanks to henry kaiser and some other industrialists who finally figured out how to build a ship this a hurry. and the liberty ships and the victory ships became vital to saving britain from starvation in 1943 and 1942. besides, churchill said, you lost aircraft carriers, and we had lost one. it wasn't really an aircraft carrier, as i said, it was the battleship utah. he said, but you don't need aircraft carrierses, you need escort carriers, small carriers that can go along with the merchant ships to protect them. why don't you just put decks on some of your freighters and tankers and turn them into carriers? and so we did. and hundreds of escort carriers were built during the war. many of them would not have been around if it hadn't been for churchill's people who came with advice on how the americans
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should fight the war. so his visit to the white house turned out to be very crucial not only to plan attacks against germany when we could do it and attacks against japan when we could do it, but also to raise the morale of americans who had no idea what was going on. churchill appeared at a press conference with president roosevelt on december 23rd, the first full day he was in america, and was introduced to the war correspondents who had heard that he was there but wanted to be reassured that it was really true. and they couldn't see him. churchill was short and pudgy, about 5-6. there was a huge crowd in the white house, and roosevelt said, winston, stand up on a chair. and so churchill stood up on a chair, and they saw him, and he spoke to them, and they asked churchill how long will it take
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to win the war? and he said, a lot longer if we do it badly. and he was right. it took long, and we did do it badly for some time. and his troops especially badly in singapore where they surrendered about 90,000 men, far more than the japanese had and just gave up because they had no way of getting supplies to singapore. the canadians were very angry because churchill had insisted on sending a canadian division to hong kong to help support hong kong. well, there was no way hong kong could survive. it was an isolated island surrounded by the japanese, and hong kong fell very quickly. and all the canadians who had been sent over were either killed or became prisoners. and the canadians there and the australians in singapore, those
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who survived helped build the bridge on the river quai. you'll remember that, the bridge on the river quai in thailand. they, those who survived, of course, will never forget the bridge on the river quai and their incarceration in japanese prison camps. we had very few victories at this time. perhaps the only victory i can think of is that of an american bookseller in paris, sylvia beech. sylvia beech ran the shakespeare and company book shop in paris. the germans hadn't picked her up yet, although she was now an alien enemy. she had lived in paris since the early 1920s. she had this her window an early copy of james joyce's finney began's wake which had just been published. a german storm trooper officer came into the store, and he said
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i want that book. and she said, you wouldn't understand it. she wouldn't sell it to him. and he stormed out, as a storm trooper would, and she knew he'd be back. but she wasn't going to let him have that book. she called in her friends. they emptied the store of all the books. they painted over the sign, shakespeare and company. she disappeared into hiding, and so did the books. and when the storm trooper came back with others to seize the book and her, there was nothing this. nothing there. nothing. if you want to call that a victory, that was our only victory in december 941. --1941. our troops at wake island, mostly marines and some working force of sea bees were trying to extend the airfield on wake island when the japanese came. they actually drove off the japanese with artillery, coast
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artillery on their first try. they sank a japanese destroyer, and the japanese were terrified that the news would get back, and they'd all have to commit suicide. in fact, a japanese commander did commit suicide because of it. but they came back, and they took wake island, and the men were taken prisoner. a famous story about the marines on wake island that major james devereaux was asked what do you need, what can we help you with, and they couldn't help them with anything really. but he said supposedly send us more japs. [laughter] and that became the big headlines in the paper, the heroic business. it never happened. he never said it. he never said it. eventually, he was captured and spent the rest of the war in a japanese prison camp. so many of the stories we hear were not true.
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general mcarthur, number one on my picture cards, wrote his own communiques. his communiques were all false. he never really told anything that happened accurately. he said that they drove off the japanese invasion force which they hadn't. he said that they were able, they were holding manila, and by the time he -- the newspapers got the story that he was holding manila, manila had been evacuated and veppedded to the -- surrendered to the japanese, and mcarthur was in manila bay holed up until he could get out of there. and the her eauism -- heroism of the back, atan peninsula became very prevalent then. and later on mcarthur would
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name his private plane which he had in australia after he was evacuated there the batan. and he called his own, his own group of cronies who were part of his office taffe the batan gang. he was on batan once for one hour in his whole career. but he was the hero of batan. that's what we faced in the beginning of world war ii at christmas time. and yet christmas went on as if there wasn't with much change. people lit their christmas trees, there was no blackout. churchill helped roosevelt light the white house christmas tree, and the big crowd gathered. the only difference was that churchill and roosevelt had to be secured, and so people weren't allowed to bring their christmas bundles onto the white house lawn. they had to leave them at the gate.
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and strangely enough, when they came back, they were there. i don't think that would happen anymore somehow. the world has changed. that didn't happen. churchill also spoke to both house of congress, and he told them that although he was there as a guest, if things had been a little different, if inted of his mother -- instead of his mother being american, his mother was the new york society lady jenny jerome, and his father english, lord randolph churchill, he said if it had been the oh way around, he might have been there on his own. in other words, he was arrogant enough to think that he might have been there as the president speaking to congress. and he had that kind of personality that it could possibly have happened. he would go on to speak to the canadian parliament. he went in president roosevelt's own private train to the capital
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of ottawa in canada to speak to the canadian parliament. and he was by that time pretty tired. he had had an exhausting trip to the united states, he had drunk too much, he'd even had a heart attack in the white house that nobody knew about for 30 years. he had a heart attack, he had tried to push open a white house window because his cigar smoke got even too much for him, and he wanted some fresh air. and he felt pain in his arm and his chest, and he sensed there was trouble. he told nobody, but he called in his doctor who had traveled with him to america the next morning, and lord moran said you've had a heart attack, but let's not tell anybody. we'll go on as before. and so churchill smoked and drank as before. he traveled to canada just after his heart attack. he lived to to be 90.
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i'm not suggesting this is your route you should take, but he went on to canada. he gave a memorable speech in canada, and afterwards or he slumped over tired and put a cigar back in his mouth. and as he was leaving parliament house, a canadian photographer stopped him and said i want to take your picture. and churchill shook his head, and the photographer wouldn't take no for an answer. he pulled the cigar from churchill's mouth and snapped his picture. and it's joseph karch was the photographer, and it's known as the bulldog picture, and it's in my book, "pearl harbor christmas." it's a very fascinating picture because it's how we remember churchill now. the picture taken with the cigar pulled out of his mouth. things were bad all around even
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for the germans, it seems, and the germans at that time didn't expect to be in russia still trying to take moscow and leningrad. they thought they would have won the war by winter. their troops had no winter clothes. it was necessary for propaganda minister goebbels and hitler to get on german radio and plead with the people to send winter clothes, anything you can spare, he said, send winter clothes to the troops. he made it in terms of christmas presents. he had never used christmas before. the germans were forbidden to send christmas cards, they were forbidden to have christmas trees because christmas was forbidden. it was just not part of the nazi religion. and suddenly christmas appeared because he had to send clothes to the troops. and he had a new year's day message for the troops on new
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year's day later on, he said with good's help we -- with god's help we will win the war in 1942. he had never used the word "god" before, so you knew things were getting bad for the germans, too, but it took a long time before the germans could be defeated. and the united states president roosevelt had the problem of replacing his leadership at pearl harbor. he could not leave the admiral and the general, general short, admiral kimmel, on duty. they were sacked immediately. he got in touch with admiral nimitz who was then with the atlantic at least and was at his office in washington. he called the office personally, and he told the lieutenant on the other end of the line i want to talk to chester. well, the lieutenant didn't accept that sort of thing. nobody calls, wants to talk to chester. and so he refused to put the
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president on. finally, the president, exasperated, said this is the president of the united states. i want to talk to chester. and chester was put on finally, and he told him you are now in command at pearl harbor. i want you to get there as fast as you can, but i don't want you to fly. he didn't want him to fly because the previous person he had ordered there along with an army general he had ordered there had try today fly there, and their plane crashed in a storm over the sierras, and both were killed. so he told nimitz, put on civilian clothes and go by train across to california. nimitz did that, and on christmas day he arrived at pearl harbor. which was still a mess, which was still full of oil slicks and bodies floating to the surface and wrecks, and nimitz knew for the first time what the reality is was of pearl harbor.
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pearl harbor would remain in our conscious for a long time, and it still does. when churchill left, though, he knew that the antidote to pearl harbor had finally been worked out, that we were going to gear up our industry, we knew what we were doing, we knew where we were going. and roosevelt said i want you to go with me to a new year's day ceremony at church. churchill had gone to church with roosevelt on christmas day in washington, and for the first time heard "o little town of bethlehem" sung. he never went to church, but he wouldn't have heard that anyway, because it was an american carol. it was actually written in philadelphia in 869. so this was all new to him. and churchill said why are we going to a methodist church?
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you're not a methodist. and roosevelt said, i like to sing with the methodees. they went to alexandria to an episcopal church on new year's day, and roosevelt didn't get out of the car when churchill said he wants to go on to washington's home at mount vernon and visit washington's tomb. it was a wet day, and roosevelt, after all, was paralyzed. he didn't want to make trouble for himself. so eleanor roosevelt accompanied churchill to lay a wreath at washington's tomb. and the newspaper reporters followed. they wondered what was going to be said when he heard them chattering. after all, it must be something very memorable because churchill always had something memorable to say. and they overheard churchill say to eleanor, very wet, isn't it? [laughter] so that wasn't much for history. [laughter]
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but my bookends -- book ends on new year's day, the first day of 1942, and the war would go on through 1942, '43, '44, and it would end in 1945 only a few weeks after president roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage on april 12, 1945. so he didn't see the end. churchill saw the end, but churchill saw the end of all things from a distance because the british had held an election and thrown him out of office. they somehow were ungrateful for the man who had led them to victory because they at no time feel he was good for them in peace. so they voted him out of office. and that's for another book that i'm working on right now. thank you. i'll leave things open for discussion if you'd like to ask any questions. there's much more to be said, but i want to give you a turn.
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>> [inaudible] >> wait until we get a mic to you. all the way this the back. >> what influence did charles lindbergh have on keeping the u.s. actually isolated? >> what role did charles lindbergh have? very little. charles lindbergh was the guiding spirit of the, of the america first committee, the isolationist committee that tried to keep us out of the war until pearl harbor destroyed the reason for existence of the america first committee. roosevelt would not let him have his commission back. he had been an air force kohl them. roosevelt wouldn't let him back. he felt that this was a gross mistake to do. however, henry ford who was also an isolationist before world war ii began and had been an isolationist in world world wari
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wanted to put lindbergh to work, and he quietly put lindbergh to work as a civilian, a civilian engineer with his detroit plants. and later on lindbergh actually flew out to the pacific and was a test pilot on some of our new war planes in the pacific. not as an officer, but quietly as a civilian. so he got back in the war somehow, but roosevelt did not want him in publicly. yes. >> somewhere in my recollection the american intelligence agencies had an idea that pearl harbor was going to happen, and it was -- >> the americans, yes, there were stories after pearl harbor that we knew pearl harbor was going to happen, and we were unprepared or that we wanted it
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to happen so we could get in the war somehow. none of it is really true. president roosevelt quite literally wanted america to get in the war to help britain, but to get in the war with germany. and he sent out destroyers to convoy british ships and american ships to britain hoping that they'd be attacked by the germans so he'd have an excuse to go to war. but even though a couple of our destroyers were sunk and others damaged and sailors killed, that didn't seem to be enough of a provocation for the american congress to want to go to war with germany. it took the attack on pearl harbor to do it. did we know about the attack on pearl hard wore? -- harbor? no, we didn't. we did not think that the japanese could possibly have traveled that far with such a big strike force, like five aircraft carriers and other ships, to be able to get there
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without our spotting them. and we had had almost annual exercises to defend pearl harbor against those attacks. we did not have one in 1941 because the admirals and generals felt that it was wasting valuable supplies, wasting oil and aviation gasoline, and we shouldn't be bothered doing that anymore. after all, we had radar now, very primitive radar. we could find the japanese if we wanted to. our primitive radar was turned off on oahu on saturday, december 7th, because it was a weekend. so we couldn't listen in. and when somebody came to test the radar on sunday, he was surprised to find blips on the screen, and he called in to fort shafter in oahu and said there are blip on the screen, there are aircraft coming in. and he was told, oh, yes, there's a flight of b-17 flying fortresses coming in from
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california. don't worry about them. and, yes, they did. they did come in, and they were attacked by the japanese as they came in. because the japanese were coming from another direction. there were other sources of information that we didn't take seriously. admiral -- ambassador joseph grew in japan told the state department that he had overheard at a party at the peruvian embassy talk on the part of the japanese that they were going to attack pearl harbor, and they were planning for it. and this came from a peruvian who had overheard the japanese. and the state department didn't take it seriously because, after all, how would a peruvian waiter have any idea what was going on in japan? so they ignored it. we did not have any direct information, but we did know that the japanese did have a spy
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a consul in honolulu who was trying to find out where our ships were berthed in pearl harbor. and he was making a chart of where the ships were berthed. and the authorities at pearl harbor felt this was for sabotage because we had a big japanese pop haitian there. and in case -- population there. and in case of war, they wanted to know where the ships would be for purposes of sabotage. it turned out there was not a single case of sabotage on the part of the japanese in hawaii during the war. they were all quite loyal except for this japanese consul who had been imported as a spy. did we break the japanese code to learn about pearl harbor? no. we did wreak the japanese tip -- break the japanese diplomatic code, and we knew they were going to break relations with us, and we found that out the day before pearl harbor. but we didn't know why they were
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going to break relations with us because we did not have the military code broken or the admiralty, naval code broken. we didn't know about those until well after pearl harbor. breaking the admiralty code, though, helped us win the battle at midway, and that was six months later. but nothing, it seems, but stupidity and blindness was the way of the japanese attack on pearl harbor. yes? >> i was wondering how much resistance was there if any, to fdr's and churchill or germany first instead of japan first? >> there was no resistance on the part of the american public because the american public didn't know what our plans would be. >> uh-huh. >> there was resistance at first from our navy who felt that there was nothing they could do in the atlantic, and they wanted to go after the japanese, and
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they were warned that we didn't have enough to go after the japanese because of the decimation of our fleet at pearl harbor, that we had to rebuild our fleet. and meanwhile, said roosevelt, we had to show the germans that we really were serious and go to war in the atlantic. ,and so it became an atlantic wr first until we could rebuild our efforts in the pacific. yes? >> do you have a new book in the works, and will it have the same theme of -- >> i have two more books in the works that will deal with president roosevelt. i got fascinated by president roosevelt's activities during this period of pearl harbor and decided that i would write about him more. because this is a presidential election year coming up, i'm preparing a book that will come out sometime during this election year on the wartime
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campaign of 1944. the first wartime campaign for the presidency since the civil war when roosevelt ran for a fourth term against young tom dewey, governor of new york state. the book will be entirely about the wartime campaign, though it will include the war itself because roosevelt actually went to pearl harbor for the first time after the attack in 1944 to confer with admiral nimitz and general mcarthur about what to do next to try to defeat japan. so roosevelt was at pearl harbor, and he went on to the aleutians from pearl harbor and came back from the aleutians in a destroyer to washington state. and his adversaries because this was an election year spread the story that his little dog,
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scotty dog, had been abandoned in the aleutians accidentally, and they had to send ships at great expense, millions of dollars, to go back and find the dog. that was all untrue. but roosevelt made it into a good campaign story for his speeches. that'll be in the next book which will be called "the final victory." and i hope you'll see it this year. >> [inaudible] >> and, oh, there'll be another one after that. i was interviewing veterans of the war, world war ii about whether they voted during the 1944 election, did they vote and how did they vote. and many former sailors told me they voted for president roosevelt because he was a navy man, and i didn't quite figure that out at first. he was a navy man. well, he was. he was assistant secretary of the navy as a young man, at age
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31, in world war i. and very effective assistant secretary of the navy. so the second book i'm working on is on, it will be called "young mr. roosevelt," and it will be about president roosevelt as assistant secretary of the navy in world war i. so that'll be about a different war. i hope then i'll turn to something else. if i'm still up to it. [laughter] are there other -- yes. >> what do you think explains the difference of the treatment in japan on hawaii as opposed to on the mainland of alaska? >> it was a terrible thing. we incarcerated the japanese on the west coast. of we sent hem to -- we sent them to concentration camps called lightly relocation camps saying that we could not take a chance on the security of the west coast because there were so many japanese living there. they had to give up their
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property, they had to give up their schooling, they were sent to places like utah and montana and idaho into very bleak circumstances and concentration camps. there were never any problems with the loyalty of the japanese. eventually, the young japanese in the camps were allowed to leave the camps to enlist in the army, and they became one of the bravest forces we had in the army. but they were never allowed to go to the pacific because it was thought that we couldn't take that chance. so they fought very bravely in italy, and they were among our best forces. but the japanese were not released from those camps until 1944, toward the end of the war. and it was only decades later that the supreme court heard the case and declared that it was an unconstitutional thing to have sent them to prison. it was far too late to do any good, and they were given a
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token sum of money, but it wouldn't buy back the land that was taken from them. that was a very bad lot on the american character -- blot on the american character. >> but the japanese on hawaii were not treated that way. >> no, the japanese on hawaii -- >> why? what was the difference? >> -- were not. i don't know what the excuse was, but there were too many japanese on hawaii, and it would have totally undone the economy of hawaii had they been put into prison. and there would have been no place to put them. there were just too many of them. and it turned out that they were very effective and loyal, good citizens, good workers, many that went into the army and navy. but none of them were ever imprisoned. so the ones on the west coast of the went to relocation camps, and the same law was not used in hawaii. to me, the greatest irony of it is that one of our most liberal
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and respected chief justices of the supreme court, earl warren, who was chief justice at the time that school segregation was abolished and so on, earl warren was the attorney general of california who was in part responsible for sending the japanese to relocation camps. >> do you know about roosevelt's attitude toward either what happened in hawaii or california, or the west? >> i don't know why roosevelt allowed one and not the other. but he was told by the general in command of the army on the west coast that he was in a panic about the japanese, and they had to do something about it. and the general in charge there turned out to be somebody who was a good friend of general marshall, the chief of staff, so he got away with it.
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he was a terrible general, but he got away with it. on the night of pearl harbor, he actually went on the radio and announced the japanese were flying over san francisco, and everybody had to turn their lights out. nobody was there. he was good at scaring people though. yes? >> how come the german-americans weren't treated similarly? >> i'm sorry, i couldn't hear that. >> how come the german-americans weren't treated similarly? >> i don't know. the german-americans were not treated similarly, nor were the italian-americans. there was no, no serious problems except for those germans who were considered disloyal by being members of the german-american bund which had been pro-nazi. i don't know of anyone who was actually imprisoned for being german. but in world war i there was a panic about the germans, and in many places in the united states the schools were forbidden to teach the german language anymore.
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my mother with us in high school then, and her high school had to stop teaching german. so there was more panic over germans in world war world war i than in world war ii. yeah, stan. >> the invasion of russia by germany was a major disaster for them, and it sounds like that actually started before we got in the war s is that correct? >> the germans were attacked on june 22, 1941. they attacked, japan attacked us on december 7th, 1941, so it was, there was a five month difference between the attack on russia by the germans and the attack on the united states by the japanese. the germans expected to win the war in two or three months. they thought that the communists would fall apart because there was such disloyalty to the communists, such hatred of the
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communists among the people. they didn't realize how tough it was to do anything in a police state to somehow upset the equilibrium. and the russians fought for their motherland, and the propaganda to fight for the motherland whether it was communist or not was strong enough. about 20 million russians died in the war. but the germans could never capture moscow. they got within the gates of moscow the day before pearl harbor, december 6th, but they could never get through. they isolated leningrad. leningrad was under siege. leningrad was under siege for 900 days, literally, 900 days. the people were not near starvation, they were in starvation. they peeled the plaster from the walls to eat because they had to have something to eat. there was cannibalism.
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the dead were literally eaten. in leningrad. it was an absolutely terrible time. but they were loyal to the motherland, and nothing the germans could not get through. this was, of course, going on at the time of pearl harbor, and there was nothing we could do to aid the russians at leningrad which is now st. petersburg. there was nothing we could do except to try to get supplies to them by some other means. and at the time my book is underway, annie eaton, the foreign minister for britain, was in moscow trying to find a way to get supplies to the russians. how would they accept them? many supplies came in through iran, through persia because it was a southern route and, therefore, it wasn't icebound. and we would send planes and trucks to persia, to iran, and
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the russians would not let us take them into russia. the cold war was really going on already. they wouldn't let us take them in. they sent their own pilots and their own drivers to pick them up and take them to russia. they did not want the americans talking to the russians or seeing what conditions were like in russia. so anyone who tells you the cold war began after the war, not so. >> this was a major blow to germany -- >> yes, the germans didn't want us -- >> it was quite early in the war. >> the germans didn't want us to supply the russians. they thought that the japanese attack would divert our supplies to fighting the japanese. so they thought this was a good thing, to have the japanese in the war, in part because we would have to supply germany -- rather, supply britain and russia and also our own forces at the same time, and we wouldn't have been able to do all of it. but we did.
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any other -- yes? >> something i heard. there's a monument in france, and there's an american flag there. i heard that it was there all during world war ii, the germans didn't touch it. >> i think there are a lot of things the germans didn't do because they, they didn't feel it was important enough to bother with. the one symbol that the germans wanted to do something about in world war ii was the railway car, the pullman car in which the arm san -- armistice of 191s signed. the germans actually took the car and brought it to germany on display. because they had signed the armistice with france in 1940 defeating the french and used the same car deliberately. and the british showed on film
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hitler doing a little dance in front of the car because he was so happy about it. the dance was a phony. what they did was speed up the film. he'd just been walking. [laughter] they speeded up the film to make it look as if he was a little bit demented and doing this dance in front of the railway car. the car, of course, was soon moved back to france in 945. 1945. thank you, i think we probably have finished what we had to do. i appreciate your all coming. >> thank you. [applause] >> is there a nonfiction author or book you'd like to see featured on booktv? end us an -- send us an e-mail or tweet us at >> well, on your screen is the newest book by longtime washington foreign correspondent georgie anne geyer, "predicting
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the unthinkable: anticipating the impossible." georgie anne geyer, what is this book about? >> well, this book is a compilation of my poems since the first soviet bloc of communism. and i have felt for many years that what we have to do, those of us in the foreign field, we have to anticipate, we have to predict them. i've predicted death very easily, and that's what this book is trying to show. >> throughout your years as a foreign correspondent, where have your travels taken you? what are two or three of the most exciting places you have been and situations you've been in? >> oh, i've within all over the -- i've been all over the world. egypt, israel, all over latin america, vietnam -- not so exciting -- cuba, but that goes -- [inaudible] and interviewed castro many
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times. and really i've gone almost everywhere. i can't think of places now. [laughter] >> so if people sit down to read "predicting the unthinkable," what are they going to find in there? what would you like them to take away from that book? >> the poems are about all parts of the world, and a lot of it's about the message of thinking and different people. so they can anticipate what is coming and predict it. we have great diplomats and military men and journalists who have predicted, but it never sort of gets to the reasons of the white house and the state department. >> so if you were to travel today, where do you see a future problem or a future situation that we should be aware of, thinking about now? >> well, certainly syria. i think the rest of the middle east is going to come out of
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this quite well, but syria is such a violent place and such a nasty place that it will have to be an all-out revolution to overthrow that -- [inaudible] they're not doing much of anything. going full speed ahead, but they depend upon us, borrowing. so almost everywhere you look including our own country, there are problems to look into. >> now, we're here at the national press club. it is authors' night here at the national press club, and we're talking with georgie anne geyer whose newest book is on your screen. regular viewers of news shows from cnn, msnbc, c-span, fox, all of them, have seen georgie anne geyer on the program commentating, but, ms. geyer, it
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sounds like you have a bit of a speech impediment now. what's happening to you? >> i do. four years ago i had tongue cancer which i didn't even know existed, and i never smoked, never drank too much, never smoked at all. and so -- [inaudible] for a long time until it was stage iv. so i survived, but now i'm trying to go a little beyond surviving. [laughter] >> has it impeded your travel plans? >> oh, yes, oh, yes. because, you know, i can talk to you, and you understand it, but in germany or france or egypt they won't understand it. so i'm rearranging my life. i can still write. [laughter] that's important. >> georgie anne geyer, thank you for being on booktv. >> thank you. >> up next,ut


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